21 episodes

In the Research Matters Podcast, I interview leading scientific researchers in psychology and other social sciences in an effort to understand what they do that makes them productive. This podcast is intended to help graduate students, professors, and scientists learn actionable strategies that can help them in their own research endeavors. I strive to help draw out the tips, tricks, habits, and routines of extraordinarily productive researchers.

In these interviews, we cover topics like:

How to develop a programmatic line of research
How to build a team of amazing collaborators
Getting things done
Writing productively
Grant writing strategies
Creating an effective research lab
Applying design thinking to research
How to develop great research ideas
When to turn your research into a book
Managing grad students
Maintain a balance with other aspects of life, such as health, fun, and family
How to choose which projects to invest in
How to be efficient
And much more…

Research Matters Podcast Jason Luoma, Ph.D.

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

In the Research Matters Podcast, I interview leading scientific researchers in psychology and other social sciences in an effort to understand what they do that makes them productive. This podcast is intended to help graduate students, professors, and scientists learn actionable strategies that can help them in their own research endeavors. I strive to help draw out the tips, tricks, habits, and routines of extraordinarily productive researchers.

In these interviews, we cover topics like:

How to develop a programmatic line of research
How to build a team of amazing collaborators
Getting things done
Writing productively
Grant writing strategies
Creating an effective research lab
Applying design thinking to research
How to develop great research ideas
When to turn your research into a book
Managing grad students
Maintain a balance with other aspects of life, such as health, fun, and family
How to choose which projects to invest in
How to be efficient
And much more…

    Tony Biglan, Ph.D., on balancing funding with following your true passions

    Tony Biglan, Ph.D., on balancing funding with following your true passions

    Tony Biglan, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute and Co-Director of the Promise Neighborhood Research Consortium. For the past thirty years, he has conducted research in the development and prevention of child and adolescent problem behavior. He is a former president of the Society for Prevention Research and was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention. As a member of Oregon’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, he has helped to develop a strategic plan for implementing comprehensive evidence-based interventions throughout Oregon.
    Dr. Biglan is the founder of Values to Action, an organization dedicated to evolving more nurturing societies. He has helped to identify effective family, school, and community interventions to prevent the most common and costly problems of childhood and adolescence around the world. Working to advance the reforms called for in his most recent book, Rebooting Capitalism: How We Can Forge a Society That Works for Everyone, Dr. Biglan advocates for the creation of  “Action Circles,” small groups of like-minded people who devote as little as 15 minutes a day to come together to study a problem in an effort to devise a solution.
    In this episode, you’ll learn…
    A powerful lesson about not taking the criticism and advice of others too seriously. About the tensions between administration and scientists and the balance of doing what it takes to gain funding while remaining true to callings and passions. About the groundbreaking work done from the 1970s to the present at Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, OR and the creation of the first behavior change clinic in Oregon. That being politically and socially active and fighting for justice are possible and needed, even while remaining dedicated to science and research work and keeping a good balance, including family and leisure. The importance of science support people and participatory democracy. That serendipity and luck can play a part in success and that there are many paths, not just one “right” one. The importance of idleness. About some frustrations with NIH and the problem of addressing individual issues instead of the whole social context. About prevention and the concept of “Action Circles.” Tips from the episode
     On the weight of the opinions of others, even older mentors and those in leadership positions…
    Learn from Dr. Biglan’s personal account of having suicidal thoughts because his dissertation methodology was judged so harshly. Be encouraged by his later discovery that the very same dissertation became one of his greatest life accomplishments and his name is now attached to the concept of “the Biglan Model” because of it. Remember his advice: If you’re working on your dissertation and they tell you it’s no good or not worthwhile and so on, just remember they could be mistaken. This, of course, applies to most things in life, not just dissertation work. On participatory democracy…
    Support people are vital to everything. Honoring them and giving them a voice will only improve success. Listen to colleagues who hold different priorities than yours and release some power and control. On gaining funding while holding on to personal passions and what’s important …
    A lot depends on luck or serendipity as to who you meet or how fate happens to put you in the right place at the right time. Having a good system and good support people for writing grants is important. Scientists also have a responsibility to fight for things to get done. As Dr. Biglan says,  It’s imperative that scientists speak up and not simply wait outside the halls of the federal government and hope that somebody will do the right RFA. On making use of idleness…
    Dedicate time and thought to your passions during your “idle” time. Let your mind focus on what is important to you. Follow Dr. Biglan’s example of getting up early in the morning to write what he wants, not

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Dean McKay, Ph.D., A.B.B.P. on mental health in academia, getting into grad school, authorship, and personal planning

    Dean McKay, Ph.D., A.B.B.P. on mental health in academia, getting into grad school, authorship, and personal planning

    Dean McKay, Ph.D., A.B.B.P. is Professor of Psychology at Fordham University where he is a member of the clinical psychology doctoral program. His lab, Compulsive, Obsessive, and Anxiety Program (COAP) provides instruction to undergraduate, masters, and doctorate levels. Dr. McKay’s expertise is in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behavior, with his current focus being on Covid-19 related stress and anxiety. He has further interest in anxiety pertaining to political conditions, and he has a passion for clinicians to receive ongoing continuing education. Dr. McKay conducts some private practice and does some consultation as well. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and he is the editor or co-editor of 19 books. He is board-certified in Clinical and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.
    Today Dr. McKay shares his thoughts about the obligation of people in academia having to do work that “may potentially raise some uncomfortable questions and allow us to advance topics that maybe people in other settings don’t have the luxury of doing.” Dr. McKay addresses the types of things mentors look for in students who are applying to their programs and offers tips on identifying and screening good candidates. It could be surprising to hear that a major thing he asks about in an interview is how they manage to relax. In a day when being accepted to programs is increasingly difficult, Dr. McKay sees this ability as an indicator of how the student will manage in the future. He addresses the intense struggles with stress that come from the benchmarks of performance students must achieve. His compassion for students and sound advice to regularly disconnect from work stem from personal experiences where he actually found himself bedridden from stress and at one point needing surgery for gastrointestinal issues at a very young age. While he is quite serious about his counsel to take vacations and guard weekend time for rest and non-work activities, he admits that during the past COVID-year the lines between work and home have become increasingly difficult to maintain. As he jokes with his colleagues, “every day is Blursday.” Time has little meaning, and schedules and organized events are difficult to maintain. Dr. McKay wishes to be a good example to his students and believes that, as a psychologist, it is important to do the things he would advise his clients to do. Protecting his down time in an environment where work is constantly in his space is vital.
    In addition to his recommendations to take time out for self-care, Dr. McKay discusses the tricky territory of defining what a “co-author” actually is. In a world where everyone needs to be published, he sees a need for mentors to be careful with balancing the desire to be generous with credits and making sure there is legitimate call to cite names. Allowing a student recognition is important, but the students must be able to defend work they contributed. Dr. McKay shares a personal anecdote in which he worked on a project with a litany of co-authors and two of the credited authors contributed only two sentences to the work. He sees situations like this as doing a disservice to students who, when faced with the real-world demands, won’t have the knowledge to back up their claims on their resumes. 
    Finally, Dr. McKay shares some of his personal methodology for balancing writing time to make it more productive and his thoughts on taking stock of the “50,000 foot overview” of his future plans. He concludes with his ideas about his personal clinical work and suggests that, “researchers do themselves a little bit of a disservice by not actually seeing clients periodically.”
    In this episode, you’ll learn…
      The obligation academia has to advance causes that could raise some uncomfortable questions. Things to look for when screening students for a graduate program as well as things

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Steven C. Hayes, PhD, on controversy, his lab culture, and how political organizing can help you in science

    Steven C. Hayes, PhD, on controversy, his lab culture, and how political organizing can help you in science

    Dr. Hayes is a Nevada Foundation Professor of Psychology in the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. An author of 46 books and nearly 650 scientific articles, he is especially known for his work on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is one of the most widely used and researched new methods of psychological intervention in the last 20 years. Dr. Hayes has received many national awards, such as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy. His popular book Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life was, at one point, the best-selling self-help book in the United States, and his new book A Liberated Mind has been recently released to wide acclaim. His TEDx talks have been viewed by over 600,000 people, and he is ranked among the most cited psychologists in the world.

    In this wide ranging conversation, we discuss how Dr. Hayes started his work life as a political organizer and how this has influenced him to work behind the scenes to organize coalitions to get things done. We talk about how he has built his lab culture throughout the years. We discuss his tendency to get involved in important controversies in psychology, such as the prescription privileges debate, and how he has learned to navigate those subjects and attendant criticisms. We discuss the importance of acknowledging those who have helped you along in your life and career, including those critics who have helped you grow. Finally, we talk about he works with his students, including how he encourages an atmosphere of questioning each other with good humor and supporting students to seek after what brings them vitality and meaning.

    In this episode, you’ll learn…

    How Dr. Hayes is trying to redefine what evidence-based therapy means and why he wants to have it under the umbrella of evolution science How working in the political realm transformed his future in science and psychology About the controversial past of his work and how that has affected his teaching methods and philosophy About the vital role collaboration plays To appreciate those who helped to get you where you are
    Tips from the episode

    On politics and where change happens…

    Groups make a difference. People make a difference. You can lead from behind. You have to work as hard as anyone. Be willing to do anything. Take down the hierarchy.
    On micro steps...

    Be driven by a gut sense of connection. Watch what lifts you up, entertains, and interests you. Have confidence in your heart and what brings you bliss. What seems a chaotic mess to the outside is all connected. Have faith that the big picture is playing out.
    On the role of mentors and what they offer…

    Every person has brought something to the direction things went. Even our greatest critics can offer positive gifts. Always remember to have gratitude for those who encouraged and influenced you.
    On lab philosophy…

    Create cultural traditions that invite growth. Open the society to diversity of ideas. Never hide ideas from others. Be willing to talk about emotions. Invite critics to come in. Controversy is a good thing. Embrace criticism. It is not tearing down another person to make a bold statement. Celebrate each other’s accomplishments regularly. Keep your eye on the larger values-based purpose of having a research community in the first place. Have fun.
    Links from the episode:

    Dr. Steven Hayes’ website and blog Scholarly works of Dr. Hayes Dr. Hayes’ TEDx Talk
    Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to researchmatterspod@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Jessica Borelli, Ph.D., on Work/Family Conflict, Gender Roles, and Intervention Research with Diverse Communities

    Jessica Borelli, Ph.D., on Work/Family Conflict, Gender Roles, and Intervention Research with Diverse Communities

    Jessica Borelli, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, Irvine.  She is a clinical psychologist specializing in the field of developmental psychopathology, and her research focuses on the links between close relationships, emotions, health, and development.

    Today Dr. Borelli shares her own experience with balancing her family life and her ambition and drive as an academic.  Imagine the silence that would (and did) follow her announcement of “I want to be a mom,” when prompted to share her aspirations at a celebratory dinner among a group of academics. Yeah, that happened. Our discussion touches on the conflict with her herself and also the conflict that exists within academia regarding balancing work and family life.

    Dr. Borelli shares about the complex dance between work and home and how her husband has supported her, helping her to discover who she truly wanted to be. She also talks about the importance of women scientists and the disadvantages they must embrace and overcome. We also cover how she addresses gender and work-family conflict with her students, particularly at the intersection of various identities.

    Finally, we discuss the steps she took to develop a strong partnership with a community agency serving an underserved population. 

    In this episode, you’ll learn…

    The unique challenges of being a woman in academia The influences of family on Dr. Borelli’s career and the clash between family and academia About conducting research in a diverse community as a white woman About the importance of investing in community and paying attention to community needs
    Tips from the episode

    On balancing work and family…

    Know who you are and what you want from your career and family Have confidence in your own ability to rise to challenges and achieve your goals  Have courage to pursue opportunities despite messages that work and family are impossible to balance
    On engaging with a diverse community…

    Find out what the community needs and how best to implement intervention Be open to input from the people you work with; do not try to impose your own agenda Be invested in their needs and earn their respect and trust
    Links from the episode:

    Dr Jessica Borelli’s profile at UCI

    UCI THRIVE Lab Collaborators/Community Partners

    Latino Health Access

    Her excellent advice for students thinking about graduate school in a mental health field

    Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to researchmatterspod@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 2 min
    James Kirby, PhD, and Jeffrey Kim, on incorporating physiological data in psychological research

    James Kirby, PhD, and Jeffrey Kim, on incorporating physiological data in psychological research

    James Kirby, Ph.D., is a researcher and senior lecturer at the University of Queensland in Australia, who studies the effects of kindness and compassion. Jeff Kim, a graduate student under Dr. Kirby, joins my discussion with Dr. Kirby on measuring and incorporating physiological data into their research. Today’s conversation is focused on measuring heart rate variability.
    Like many of us, Dr. Kirby didn’t take any psychology courses that incorporated physiology when he was in school. But when he became acquainted with the work of Stephen Porges, Julian Thayer and others, he was compelled to learn more. Eventually, collecting and analyzing physiological data became part of Dr. Kirby’s research on compassion. He’s quick to say he couldn’t have gotten where he is on his own.
    For others wanting to do something similar, he highly recommends connecting and collaborating with others who are already in the space. Being able to work alongside someone else and to be shown the ropes – preferably in person – makes for a smoother integration and a much quicker learning curve.
    Jeff Kim shares details regarding equipment and software they use, some of his findings, and best practice recommendations.
    In this episode, you’ll learn…
    About the influences on Dr. Kirby’s interests and developments How Dr. Kirby gained access to needed equipment About the equipment and software they use Why there is no substitute for meeting with other researchers in person About the most challenging parts of incorporating physiological data in research Tips from the episode
    On how to integrate physiological measurements in your work…
    Partner with others who are already in the space and who (hopefully) have the means to collect, analyze, and interpret data Attend workshops Meet, learn from, and collaborate with others in the space On staying abreast of the latest research in the space…
    Twitter has become Dr. Kirby’s “academic library” Follow those who study areas you’re interested in but don’t know much about Watch academic talks on YouTube and take notes Links from the episode:
    Dr. James Kirby’s profile at the University of Queensland
    Stephen Porges’ work on polyvagal theory
    Paul Gilbert – compassion-focused therapy
    Professor Julian Thayer and the vagus nerve
    Center for Compassion and Altruism Research
    Dr. James Doty and Dr. Emma Seppala, Handbook of Compassion Science
    Dr. Stacey Parker
    June Gruber
    Tor Wager
    Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to researchmatterspod@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Bethany Teachman, PhD, and Jeremy Eberle, on embracing an open-science mindset

    Bethany Teachman, PhD, and Jeremy Eberle, on embracing an open-science mindset

    Does the thought of practicing open science give you sweaty palms? That’s a normal reaction for those of us who weren’t formally trained in the open-science methodology. The sweaty-palm reaction is really not that surprising since most of us have gotten where we are today because we’ve been meticulous in our work and tried to put out the best work we possibly could. In a nutshell, we tend to be perfectionists.
    But science, like life, is far from perfect. It’s messy. And it often takes unexpected twists and turns. Once we embrace this reality and view research as a conversation starter, we’ll be able to move past the sweaty-palms stage.
    Part of getting comfortable with open-science practices is your mindset. It’s about valuing doing rigorous science, even when it gets messy. Open science is also about creating an environment where feedback is sought and embraced. It’s about learning along the way so that you can do even better science going forward.

    In this episode, you’ll learn…

    Why Dr. Teachman felt primed to embrace open science from her grad school experience, even though she wasn’t taught open-science protocol in school How to begin embracing open-science practices The barriers to embracing open science Why open science is about more than protocols and checklists -- it’s about a culture that supports transparency and is non-defensive to feedback About the documentation process within her lab About the benefits of using GitHub in addition to OSF Why doing science according to your values can ease the sting of rejected work by publications Dr. Teachman’s suggestion of putting a pre-registration section on your CV How Dr. Teachman approaches collaborations with other researchers who are unfamiliar with open-science practices Tips from the episode
    On how to shift a lab towards open-science practices…

    Incorporate visual reminders about your lab’s open-science goals. Set concrete deadlines and expect participation from everyone in the lab. Get over the idea that “it has to be as near perfect as possible before I make it public.”
    On incrementalism and where to start…

    Just start. It won’t be perfect, and you’ll get better at it. Embrace that science is about taking risks and figuring it out as you go along. As a first step, do a pre-registration of your hypothesis or share a data set.
    On the documentation process for open-science projects…

    Use plain language for your comments within your code Include a section on deviations from the pre-registration Include a guide to open-data and materials Use an internal wiki
    Links from the episode:

    RO1 trial – Mindtrails Alan Kazdin Center for Open Science PACT lab Pre-registration templates on OSF Twitter feed on CVs incorporating open science and related materials on OSF Tutorial on integrating Github and R ReproducibiliTea open science methodology reading groups Jeremy Eberle can be found on Twitter: @JeremyWEberle, and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeremy_Eberle2 or https://osf.io/nyqux/
    Research Matters Podcast is hosted by Jason Luoma, who can be found on Twitter @jasonluoma or Facebook at: facebook.com/jasonluomaphd. You download the podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Reach out with suggestions, questions, or comments to researchmatterspod@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

jess_shok ,

Something different

I really appreciate the intentional focus on research and the process of research in this podcast. The interview with Todd Kashdan is my favorite so far but there are so many excellent interviews with researchers who are actually doing the work and spreading the science. Great job!

Bob McLellarn ,

Great work

I’ve listened to many podcasts and this is one of the best.

juwa88 ,

Personable and practical

Great for early career social science researchers and grad students. It's like an insider's look into the tips by some of the most productive (and balanced!) researchers. Includes researchers who are working in traditional academic positions, but also researchers who have taken non-traditional paths outside academia.

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